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Saddleback Mountain

Hannah Fleming


PC: B.Fleming (

PC: B.Fleming (

After a few months without a long hike, it was finally time to break in my new hiking boots! We spent a Saturday, following a quick stop at the REI garage sale, hiking up Saddleback Mountain.

With the California Winter days behind us, and not yet into warm Summer days, the weather is perfect for long hikes. The trail at Saddleback Mountain up to Santiago Peak has a 6,000 foot elevation gain and is roughly 16 miles round trip, making this my longest hike yet!

The trail is estimated by most to take 8-9 hours, so we made sure to bring plenty of water and food.  I had my 3L CamelBak reservoir filled, two granola bars, a few bananas and a PB&J. I also packed an extra long sleeve and a t-shirt just in case.

PC: H. Labadie (

PC: H. Labadie (

     We parked the car and hit the trail by 9:30. The first four miles the temperature was very comfortable, and the views were beautiful. However, once the clouds began to roll in the temperature quickly dropped, and I’m glad I had a few extra layers packed away!

We reached the summit at 12:30 and enjoyed the rest of our lunches. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day, and the view was not nearly as good as it could've been. Also, because Saddleback is topped with satellite towers and a utility building, it feels like you're not too far out in nature.  By 12:45 we began the 8 mile trek back to the car, and ended up making it down the mountain a little after 3:30, totaling around 6.5 hours for the whole hike!

If you want to get out into nature for a day, without TOO challenging of a hike, I definitely recommend Saddleback Mountain!